Duke basketball transfer portal addition: Blue Devils add 6-8 defensive stalwart

Duke basketball coach Jon Scheyer landed a sought-after player for next season’s team when 6-8 forward Maliq Brown committed to transfer to the Blue Devils.

Brown visited Duke’s campus, arriving in town Wednesday night, after entering his name in the transfer portal last month.

He played the past two seasons at Syracuse. He led the ACC in steals last season and was named to the league’s all-defensive team. He collected 71 steals in 32 games, averaging 2.2 per game while also scoring 9.5 points and grabbing 7.2 rebounds per game.

Brown’s arrival comes as Scheyer has seen seven players from last season’s 27-9 Duke team enter their names in the transfer portal. That included 6-9 starting forward Mark Mitchell, who announced his plans to play at Missouri next season after starting 67 games over the last two seasons for Duke.

But Brown better fits the type of roster Scheyer and his staff want to construct around incoming freshman Cooper Flagg, a 6-9 wing player who is rated the No. 1 player in the 2024 recruiting class. With Flagg projected to be the top pick in the 2025 NBA Draft due to his elite shooting, ball-handling and defensive skills, Duke is set for a big season if it can build the strongest roster possible around him.

Brown’s penchant for defense and rebounding is a major factor. He recorded five double-doubles in scoring and rebounding for the Syracuse last season and has the skills to guard on the interior and perimeter. He made 72% of his shots inside the 3-point line last season, according to

Duke has two incoming freshman to man the interior in 7-1 center Khaman Malauch and 6-11 center Patrick Ngongba.

The Blue Devils have a bevy of small forwards along with those three big men in 6-5 Darren Harris, 6-5 Kon Knueppel and 6-6 Isaiah Evans.

They’ll team with two returning starters at guard in 6-5 Tyrese Proctor and 6-5 Caleb Foster.

The Blue Devils have plans to add at least two more transfer portal players, with 6-6 Mason Gillis, formerly of Purdue, on their radar. Gillis played four seasons with the Boilermakers and was a top reserve on Purdue’s NCAA Tournament runner-up team.

While he has yet to set up an official visit to Duke’s campus, the Blue Devils staff is in contact and working to land him.

In addition to the perimeter players returning and incoming, Gillis would add another solid 3-point shooter as he made 46.8% of his 3-point shots last season. He’ll also turn 24 years old in November, giving Scheyer the experienced player he wants to offset the talented but young freshmen.